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Can Consumers See Through Your Cause?

In the past few years, a trend has emerged in the industry known as “cause marketing.” For those of you unfamiliar with the term, cause marketing is based on the idea of brands aligning themselves with social, environmental or economical causes that they support. Some relevant examples of this are Dove’s female empowerment campaigns, Burger King’s gay pride sandwich, or most recently, the Always “Like a Girl” campaign.

Just in the past two weeks, the world renowned marketing and communications agency, Young & Rubicam, placed themselves in the midst of this trend by announcing that they will be opening a new practice called “Young & Rubicam Group Inspire,” a practice focusing entirely on advertising with a cause. You can see their Twitter page here.

Although I myself love the idea of brands standing up for what they believe in, there has also been some backlash on the trend. Consumers are naturally skeptical of the idea because it’s hard to tell if the support is sincere, or if it’s purely for financial gain. And honestly, who can blame them? With the vast amount of profit-driven advertisements that are thrown at an average person in a day, it’s a natural reaction to be a little apprehensive. However, when cause marketing is done right, a strong consumer connection will be built where both the causes and consumers are able to reap the benefits.

With that in mind, it is important for companies to remain authentic and genuine when building a cause marketing strategy. While placing a pink breast cancer ribbon or “proceeds go to” sticker on the outside of your product can be useful in purchase decisions, consumers – and especially the Millennial generation, are looking for more. In some cases it is not enough for companies to simply donate money to a cause and say they support it; now more than ever these causes need to be backed up with actions. One way a brand can do this is by creating a campaign or entire brand initiative around a cause, allowing the consumer to understand its relevance and real-life application, engage, and in some cases even interact with the cause itself.

Now, what brands are doing it right you ask? Here are two companies I personally believe are doing a great job with their cause marketing efforts:

Starbucks Coffee


Not only does Starbucks do an amazing job at creating delicious (and I mean delicious!) coffee, they also support some pretty great causes. If you haven’t visited the Starbucks website, check it out! They have an entire Responsibility section outlining their multiple advocacy efforts. Just to name one:

Environmental Sustainability Efforts - It’s safe to say that Starbucks is one of the leading brands in the industry on the topic on environmental sustainability – but they actually deliver on this promise as well. In more than 18 countries, Starbucks has LEED certified stores that use renewable energy sources. From recycling, to water conservation and climate change, they do an awesome job at integrating the brand with the cause.

Example: #WhiteCupContest

A recent example of a cause marketing campaign by Starbucks is their #whitecupcontest, where they encouraged customers to purchase their reusable plastic cups and draw their own designs on the outside. The best cup design would then be sold as a limited edition item. This campaign was incredibly successful for two reasons: 1) It engaged customers and encouraged them to interact with the brand. 2) It promoted environmental sustainability by having consumers purchase their reusable, eco-friendly cups.



Chipotle is another great example of a company seamlessly merging a brand to a cause:

Sustainable Food Sources - Chipotle is dedicated to serving the very best sustainable food. All meat is naturally raised and hormone free. In addition to purchasing organic, locally grown food, in the past, they have had successful initiatives for healthier eating options in schools.

Example: Wrap What You Love

Chipotle’s “Wrap What You Love” campaign encouraged customers to wrap their favorite things in tin foil for a chance to win prizes with online voting triggering $1 donations to This campaign was successful because 1) It engaged customers and tied in the brand by comparing peoples favorite things to Chipotle’s product (since they’re both wrapped in foil). 2) It reinforced their promise of supporting locally grown food by donating money to the cause.


What are these brand doing right? They not only promote their cause; they live it.  Their initiatives, policy and activism all support their claims, which results in genuine, and very successful marketing. Other brands should take notes!


The Best of Creative Tech

Here at Spectrum + Mindclay, we have a bi-weekly tradition in the office called our “Creative Tech Meeting.” Every other week, the gang gets together in the creative lab and each person shares something that they found inspiration from that week. It could be anything from a funny video to an interesting article, new commercial or even a website made up entirely of cool patterns (yes, there really is such a thing). The purpose of the meeting is to inspire and ignite creative energy. It’s also very helpful at bringing different thoughts or ideas to the table that we might be able to put to good use in the future.

This week, I thought it might be fun to share some of the cool things we’ve discovered over the past few months during our meetings. Hopefully you’ll find the work as inspiring as we did – and who knows, maybe our shares will inspire some creations of your own!

I give you the best of creative tech:

1. Creative Fuel “Game Changer”

In this brilliantly done video, we are reminded to never lose sight of what’s important. With new technologies coming out every day, it is imperative to not let these devices take over the most critical part of an advertising strategy: the idea.

2. The Kraken “Black Ink”

This piece by Kraken Spiced Rum demonstrates beautiful imagery that practically jumps of the screen. If you aren’t already a rum drinker, you’ll probably want to become one after watching this breathtaking video.

3 “Creative Inspiration” Tumblr Page

If you ever find yourself in need for some creative inspiration, this Tumblr page is a great resource. You name it. Photos, videos, quotes, thoughts, this website has tons of cool stuff that is sure to get your creative juices flowing.

4. DHL Spot

This piece by DHL mailing is gorilla marketing at its best. It’s gutsy, funny and definitely makes a strong statement. This one’s worth a view.

5. British Airways “#lookup” Campaign

British Airways brings a little bit of the excitement back the airline industry in their most recent “#lookup” campaign. This awesome use of digital technology beautifully brings their message to life and demonstrates the more romantic side of travel.


Fourth of July Advertising at its Finest

Got your grill fired up, pool cleaned and RSVP’s sent out for that annual 4th of July BBQ? Or maybe you’re getting ready for a family camping trip in the mountains, or perhaps, a trip downtown to watch your city’s annual fireworks display? Whatever your plans may be, I can say with confidence that there is one thing everyone will be sporting this holiday weekend: brands.

When I think about the 4th, there are a few things that pop into my mind: hamburgers and hotdogs, ketchup, fireworks, beer and of course, the good old American flag. In honor of these holiday staples, I would like to present to you with some of my favorite advertisements (and the brands that rule them). Enjoy!

A spot from the hilarious “So American” campaign by Ball Park Franks:

Heinz’s most recent “Hum” commercial:

And finally, a new tongue-in-cheek spot by Newcastle Beer:


How to Market to a College Audience: A Student’s Perspective


According to research, there are some 18 million young adults that are currently attending college. In fact, it is predicted that Generation Y (those born anywhere from the late 70s to the 90’s) will be the largest consumer group in US history. With that in mind, it is important for brands to continue focusing their attention on this market in order to bring in those top dollars.

I know what you’re thinking. “How am I supposed to know how to grab the attention of these young, on-the-go students?” Well, lucky for you I am one those students, and I have decided to bestow upon you some of my young wisdom.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m no market analyst and I haven’t spent years studying marketing trends for people in my age group. However, because I am a college student and spend a majority of my time around other college students I feel like I have a pretty strong foundation of what works when trying to reach what researchers have dubbed the “me” generation.

Here are some of my own personal tips for tapping into that hard-to-reach college market:

1. Money is key


It’s no secret that college students are not the most well-off individuals. With student loans, textbook purchases and high gas prices, money is an area we young people tend struggle with. Not to mention all the cash we need for fun stuff like late-night Starbucks runs and nights out.

When attempting to tap into the college scene, brands should highlight their product’s low price point. Don’t have totally reasonable prices? Try offering a student discount. Even if it isn’t that much any little bit helps when your idea of an expensive dinner out is Chili’s.

For example, Apple has had a lot of success offering student discounts on laptop purchases. It’s still a big spend, but students are more apt buy if they’re saving money. If you own a locally owned business or restaurant, you could have college nights or offer a discount when students show their ID.

2. Keep it simple


College students are busy. Between class, homework, student organizations, internships, and part-time jobs we barely have enough time for a social life, let alone time to decipher what you’re trying to tell us. Make your marketing messages as simple and easy to understand as possible. We don’t want to have to spend extra time thinking, after all, that’s what class is for, right?

3. Show off your brands long-term investment value


There comes a point in every college student’s life where they have to start seriously thinking about the future. During this time, we think about stuff like where we will be living, what kind of job we’ll have and who we’ll be with. While students are pondering over these major life decisions, they’re also going to start thinking about some of the “big kid” purchases that they’re going to have to make after graduation. This is the perfect time to demonstrate your product’s “investment value.” If you can prove to us that your product is something we will need for the future and is guaranteed to last longer than any of the competition, we’ll feel a sense of responsibility that will encourage us to make the purchase.

4. Go digital


It’s pretty obvious that my generation loves the internet and are hopelessly addicted to our smartphones. I myself can admit that I have a slight online shopping addiction. In addition, a lot of college students don’t have cars or reliable means of transportation. Because of this, it’s important for brands to have a website or even an app that we can make online purchases with. It ‘s one of the best ways to directly target us, and it also gives of the convenience of making purchases without ever even having to leave our dorm room. It wouldn’t hurt to throw in some free shipping either ;p

Also, don’t forget about your social media presence – if you’re not in the “twittersphere” you’re not the brand for us. Young adults are constantly on social media – use that as an opportunity to promote your brand and even offer special deals and discounts to followers.




Nothing Can Trump the Power of Storytelling


In the past years, a trend has emerged in the industry in the area of online video advertising. Instead of going with the typical 15-30 sec. commercial, businesses have started pushing out spots that are a little lengthier. Popular brands, such as, Visa, Cartier, and most recently, Cornetto ice cream have found success in using longer, more detailed videos with a short-story feel as a new way to market to their consumers online.

These videos, typically lasting around 10 minutes, focus on an emotional connection with the story and characters being the highlight, while the actual product takes more of a back seat to the commercial.

With the vast amount of money and time that is probably spent producing these videos, one may wonder why brands are choosing this approach. Why are they taking the time to create full-length stories, instead of getting straight to the point with flashy product graphics and persuasive copy that is sure to grab the viewers attention? Well, it’s simple – consumers need more.

Nowadays, it isn’t enough to just throw a product on the screen with a catchy slogan. Sure, taking that approach may make a company a lot of money for the time being, however, those results will eventually fade away. Consumers will start getting bored, and at some point, will stop listening. If you want to truly build brand connections and loyalty you need more. You need a story.

Since the beginning of modern time, storytelling has been an integral part of our society. Books, theatre and film have all capitalized on the idea of a central plot or concept that keeps an audience entertained. When making a film, it isn’t enough to throw a bunch of shots and dialog on a screen and call it a movie. There has to be a main story tying it all together. Why should advertising be any different?

As a consumer, I love it when brands bring more to the table than just a product. One perfect example of this is a short video that Chipotle recently came out with following the life of a scarecrow working for an evil food conglomeration. After finding a chili pepper in his garden one day after work, The Scarecrow decides to open his own food stand where he could sell his garden fresh vegetables. The video successfully draws viewer’s in with an engaging and entertaining story, while still reinforcing Chipotle’s standard on using fresh, unprocessed foods that are free from GMO’s.

Personally, I commend brands that have taken the time to create these mini “movies.” Not only do they stand out amongst their competitors by doing something different, they also establish a deeper sense of who they are as a brand and highlight their benefits, which in the long run will attract loyal customers.


Meet Our Summer Interns!

Hello everyone! My name is Delanie, and I’m one of the new interns that will be spending their summer here at Spectrum + Mindclay. As a way to kick-off the start of our summer blog posts, I wanted to do a little introductory blog showcasing the three interns that will be working here this summer. So with no further ado, I give you the interns!


As I said earlier, my name is Delanie, and I am the summer account intern. I’m currently attending Florida Southern College (go Mocs!) in Lakeland, Florida, as an Advertising and Public Relations major. Originally, I’m from Bradenton, Fl, which for those of you who have no idea where that is, it’s a town right above Sarasota, aka retirement city USA.

My interest in advertising first began when I learned that there was an actual career where you could get paid to collaborate and produce work that could be seen by thousands of people (maybe even millions if you’re lucky). I decided on the account management route because although I greatly appreciate and admire people with mad creative and design skills, my artistic abilities rank somewhere around a first graders stick figure drawing. Luckily, I’m really good at organizing, communicating, and managing, so I fit in well with the account side of the business.

Here are a few more fast facts about me:

  • Hobbies/Interests: Musical theatre, going to the beach, shopping and participating in events with my sorority, Alpha Chi Omega
  • Things I love: Fashion, theme parks, sushi (or anything Japanese), funny movies, and STARBUCKS
  • Favorite social media: It’s a tie between Instagram and Pinterest
  • Interesting fact: I was home-schooled from Pre K through 12th grade


Meet Fernanda!


Her full name is Fernanda Louise Sanders De Castro (that’s right, she’s so cool she has TWO middle names). Fernanda is the post-production intern here at Spectrum + Mindclay. She is currently a Junior, communications major at the University of Tampa, in Tampa, FL. Her hometown is Sarasota, FL.

Fernanda first found an interest in production when taking a digital production class at a technical institute during high school. After finding her passion for the art of film, she knew that production was the right path for her. Her favorite part of production is editing. She hopes to one day get into film editing and eventually wants to produce.

Here are some more fast facts on Fernanda:

  • Hobbies: Playing soccer and reading books
  • Things she loves: Hanging out with friends and going to the beach
  • Favorite social media: Instagram and Facebook
  • Interesting fact: She was born in Brazil


Last but not least, meet Kristin!


Kristin Anger, is our other post-production summer intern. She is a Senior, Film & Media Arts major at the University of Tampa in Tampa, Fl. Originally, she is from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Kristin is no stranger to internships – this will be her 3rd one just since starting college. Her previous internships were at two different production studios in Philadelphia. Although her hometown is Philly, she loves Tampa and would like to stay here after she graduates and find a job in production (preferably, one that involves a lot of editing, because that is her favorite part of production).

Here are some fast facts on Kristin:

  • Interests/Hobbies: Painting
  • Favorite social media: Facebook
  • Thing she can’t live without: Her cell phone
  • Interesting fact: She opened a chapter of the prestigious film fraternity, Delta Kappa Alpha, at her college

Reinventing a Former Champion


Marissa Mayer, current CEO of Yahoo!, who was featured on the cover of this week’s Bloomberg Businessweek; hopes to answer the question “Can Marissa Mayer Save Yahoo?” with a resounding, “Yes.”

In 2008 Microsoft made an unsolicited bid to acquire Yahoo! for USD $44.6 billion. Then Yahoo! CEO Jerry Yang was very opposed to the idea, believing the bid “substantially undervalu[ed]” the company and would not be in the interest of the company’s shareholders. Three years later Yang would be out as CEO and the company would be valued at only $22.24 billion.

Two CEOs, two interim CEOs and an education scandal later, Marissa Mayer was left with an embattled and fledgling former titan when she signed on as the company’s CEO in July of 2012. The move marked a new direction for the company, as Mayer was hired because “she stands for the user” which was in contrast to the company’s prior CEOs who had little experience with consumer websites. Mayer was hired away from Google, where she had been an executive in the Location Services department, and she brought with her a number of ideas and practices from the innovative company. Her geeky charisma and credibility made an impact almost immediately, as Yahoo posted positive revenue growth for the first time in four years during her first full quarter with the company. The results, while encouraging, were only the first of many steps that would be needed to bring the company back to prominence. 

Mayer's geeky charisma resonates with employees and investors

In her first year as CEO it is clear that the buzz is back, as Mayer has reinvigorated the company. In the past year Yahoo! has acquired 17 new major properties, including this summer’s massive $1.1 billion purchase of the Internet blogging service Tumblr, the company’s largest acquisition in a decade.  All these purchases were made possible by the $7.6 billion windfall that Yahoo! gained by selling roughly half of its stake in Alibaba, a Chinese internet company which as enjoyed a lot of success lately. Additionally, Yahoo! reinvigorated the search and photo site, Flickr, a site which had languished under the inattentive care of Yahoo! since its acquisition in 2005. But Mayer wasn’t done there, she has also made sweeping changes to the company’s infrastructure including ending telecommuting, and bringing her employees back to the office.   

It is clear that Mayer wants to bring a little Google to Yahoo!, choosing to focus on collaboration and innovation in the workplace. This change in company mentality has been broadly deemed as positive, however there are those who still have their doubts. “She’s just not focused on revenue,” said Colin Gillis, a technology analyst at BGC Financial. “She’s focused on people and products – that’s a Google mentality. The only difference is that Google has beautiful core products that throw off cash, and Yahoo! does not.” Her recent bolstering of the Yahoo Labs, however, shows that Mayer is focused on product research and development. Yahoo Labs, which was created in 2005, suffered a number of major cuts during the brief tenure of former CEO Scott Thompson, something that Mayer is seeking to correct, as she said the company is investing “heavily to build it back up.” Her focus on product development beckons well for continued growth for a company that has enjoyed a 75% increase in stock price over the past year. “Marissa has done two things at Yahoo,” says Ben Ling, a partner at venture capital firm Khosla Ventures and a former Google colleague. “She has made it an attractive place for top talent to work, and she has begun to release products that engage consumers on a daily basis.” 

In recognition of the company’s “renewed sense of purpose and progress” Yahoo! announced Wednesday that the company would be kicking of a “30 days of change” campaign which coincides with the company’s launch of a new logo next month.  The new logo promises to  “be a modern redesign that’s more reflective of [their] reimagined design and new experiences.” Leading up to the new logo, the site will release a new variation of its logo each day (a move that is reminiscent of the Google Doodle).

It is clear that Mayer is instituting the type of sweeping changes needed to bring the former search engine champion back to relevance in the modern internet landscape. As rumors of more deals swirl, including a rumored $800 million bid to acquire Hulu (which seems a little low IMHO), its clear that Mayer is not done reinventing the company, and her willingness to shift the company’s focus to mobile development shows forward thinking and promise. While Yahoo hasn’t yet achieved the relevancy of its former glory days the current progress is very promising. “Name another Internet giant that went through three years of decline and then started to grow again,” Mayer says. “It’s a very good sign.”


This is my final blog for MindoMondo. It has been a fantastic summer and I am glad to have had the opportunity to share my perspective through this medium.

So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish.





Best of Creative Tech

Here at Mindclay we have a lot of fun traditions around the office, one of these is a weekly meeting where everyone is encouraged to bring something they found to be inspiring. These meetings, dubbed the “Friday Creative Tech” meeting, are always open and free flowing with tons of great pieces and thoughts brought to the table each week. With so many great samples its hard to choose just one, so we picked 5 of our favorites from this summer, presented in no particular order:

  1. Return of the Cicadas
    This video, which serves as a reminder that excellent music and filmmaking can make just about any subject emotionally engaging. Just try and not feel for these little bugs as the filmmaker deftly tells their story.

  2. Embraer Floating Catalog
    This low-tech inventive piece of specialty advertising shows that you don’t need to have a high tech design to make a high impact impression. This great piece makes use of two sets of magnets, which are used to float the plane catalog about the base.  All in all a really awesome effect that I am sure ended up getting some serious CEO desk time.

  3. Tom Clancy’s The Division Launch Trailer
    This piece had the whole room sitting on the edge of their seats. Its rare to see a game trailer these days that gives little to no clue as to the game’s actual gameplay but The Division’s trailer managed to tell an engaging story that left me, and a number of people in the room saying “I am so buying that when it comes out”.

  4. Monkey Light Pro
    This one goes in the “shut up and take my money” category. This awesome crowd funded project projects just about anything you can imagine onto your bike’s wheels using a set of LED lights. The Kickstarter’s video for this project is definitely worth a view.

  5. Cape Town Facebook Vacation Experience
    The assignment on this project was simple, bring more visitors to Cape Town and do it cheaply. That’s exactly what Ogilvy and Mather South Africa accomplished with their brilliant ‘Send your Facebook Profile to Cape Town’ campaign. As the video shows, users could sign up to send their social media profile on a virtual vacation, complete with photos, status updates, and tags. On top of that every participant also entered a raffle to win an actual trip to Cape Town, pretty awesome.


Simply Beautiful

Sometimes we forget about how even the most simple things can be beautiful if you look at them in the right way. That is what Russian graphic designer Ruslan Khasanov has captured in his experimental video entitled “Pacific Lights”. In the project Khasanov mixed colored ink droplets with soap and oil and shot them in extreme close up. The effect is nothing short of magical. Watch the video in full screen and HD to get the full effect, as it is nothing short of mesmerizing.

Pacific Light from Ruslan Khasanov on Vimeo.



Reddit Insight: Finally a Social Media Tool for Reddit

Reddit has long been a social media network that has been rather difficult for marketers to tap into. The community is extremely savvy and tends to be able to spot marketing efforts no matter how clever (as Microsoft allegedly found out this summer). One of the other major issues facing marketers is that until now there was no really good tool to track social statistics on the site. It took a group of students over at the premiere programming school, Hack Reactor, to come up with a simple solution. Reddit Insight is a web-based Reddit analytics program that allows users to, among other features: track posts in real time, letting you see graphically your post’s Karma and see just how well it is performing and create word clouds to find what words are being used most frequently in your favorite subreddit, allowing for greater title optimization. This brand new tool could really prove useful, both for marketers and the karma-obsessed members of Reddit.